March 19, 2013
Kim Conley was one of the bigger surprises of the 2012 US Olympic Trials as she PRd by 5 + seconds and grabbed both third place and the ‘A’ standard by the narrowest of margins to make the Olympic team is totally dramatic fashion. In 2013, she seems out set to prove 2012 was by no means a fluke (for the year in 2012, she lowered her 5000 pb by nearly 24 seconds) as she finished second at the US cross country championships to qualify for the 2013 World Cross Country championships where she’ll compete on Sunday in Poland.
LetsRun.com is going to Poland to cover the event. To help build excitement for the event, we reached out to Kim for a quick email interview prior to Worlds. We also interviewed 2013 Cross Country men’s winner Chris Derrick: Chris Derrick Talks Prior To The 2013 World Cross Country Championships.
LetsRun.com: How has your training gone during the last six weeks since the US Championships? What have been the high or lowlights? Is your training philosophy the same as it was last year or are you changing things up?
Kim Conley: My training since the US Championships has gone really well. When I sat down at the end of last summer with my coach, Drew Wartenburg, we planned to fit an altitude camp in between US cross and the World Championships. It was a little bit of a gamble since we didn’t like to assume that I would make the team without the added benefit of an altitude stint already under my belt, but my fall training all went really well and I was able to deliver a performance that I was happy with at US Cross. Now I feel like everything has come together nicely and according to plan. Since the US championships I have been able to put in a solid month at altitude, and I think it has made me a lot stronger than I was on February 2nd, but I suppose we won’t really know until March 24th!
In general our training philosophy is the same as what it has been in the past, but with a natural progression in terms of both quality and quantity as well as a few added “extras”. For example, we added a speed development component this fall to work on my raw speed. I’ve also logged more miles than before, including a week over 100 miles in December, and the pace of everything I do, from normal aerobic runs, to tempos, to grass intervals, is all faster due to the fact that I am fitter than I was a year ago.
Do you feel like you are ahead of where you were at this point last year?
I definitely feel as though I am ahead of where I was as a an athlete in March 2012. Between the Campaccio Cross Country meet I ran at in early January (Editor’s note: Conley finished fourth in the race), US Cross, and now the World Championships, I was able to put together a little cross country season, and I think the training for that has made me very strong. I’ve hit some times in workouts on grass that a year ago I would have been happy with on the track, so I take that as a positive sign. Hopefully it translates well to the track in a couple months.
Do you have any specific goals for world cross country in terms of place/race plan??
Originally I wrote my goal for world cross as top twenty, but since learning that top 15 counts as the World Championships A standard for the 10,000m, I decided to raise my sights to a top-15 finish. In terms of race plan, I know I will have to attack the race the way I did at US cross by getting out well and then trying to be tough when the racing gets hard. I’m hoping that with the extra weeks of training and an altitude stint, I will be stronger over the final 2k than I was in St.Louis.
Is it surreal to be going to a meet like world cross country as the on paper US team leader when in college you never made it to NCAAs in track and only were 80th at NCAA cross country??
When I step back and think about the big picture, it is surreal to think of how far I’ve come these past four years. At the same time, by remaining focused on each intermediate step within the long term I feel like I am in an appropriate and satisfying place in terms of my overall development as an athlete.
Looking forward, after world cross country what is your #1 goal for the year? Is it to make Worlds? Break 15? Do you know what track races you’ll run? Will you run a 10k?
Although the 15 minute barrier and other race performance markers are certainly looming out there, I have to say that the #1 goal is making the world team. The US championships are always so competitive, and I feel like I have to be focused on taking care of business there as my top priority. Drew and I are waiting until after world cross to make final decisions about the track season, but at this point I am assuming I will race everything from the 1500-10k.
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